Sharon, the proprietor of the blog Golf and Other Stuff, has fulfilled her duties as host of CarnivAOL, this week publishing the 40th edition. Although she had a mild response - no doubt due to the fine spring weather, and the intervening holiday weekend - she did a fine job, and congratulations are due her.
Forty editions. When I started CarnivAOL, I hardly expected to still be going this far along the road. I thought it might fizzle and die early on. And while participation does seem to be waning slightly, it looks to be holding on for the long run.
Forty editions. Eighty weeks. Throw in a four month sabbatical due to computer self immolation, and lack of funds with which to procure a replacement, and we are only eight weeks shy of our second anniversary here.
I thought I would take the opportunity of this quasi-milestone to talk about what, exactly, this CarnivAOL thing is. It's easy to say, "it's a blog carnival," and leave it at that, but how many people out in AOL J-Land really know what that means.
What does that mean?
What is a blog carnival? Well, what is a "Carnival?"
A carnival is a traveling show. It moves from small town to small town, bringing a collection of exhibits and entertainments along with it. For many people, the things they see at a traveling carnival they would never have experienced otherwise.
Likewise, a blog carnival is a traveling show. It travels from blog to blog on a regular schedule, and features a variety of blog entries collected together in one place for people to read. Hopefully, it will introduce readers to new and interesting blogs they might not have otherwise found on their own.
Many popular blog carnivals have themes, like The Skeptics' Circle, which requires all entries to be about skepticism and critical thinking, or The Carnival of the Cats, which requires all entries to be about...well, I guess that's kind of obvious. This blog carnival is what is called a "carnival of the vanities." That means that the entries are submitted out of vanity - because the writers liked them. There is no CarnivAOL editorial committee reading entries and deciding which ones are "good enough" to be included. There is no one picking out entries that are "off topic" and deleting them. Within the framework of a few simple rules, every single entry submitted gets featured.
The traveling thing is new. For the first year and a half, I hosted each edition of CarnivAOL at the CarnivAOL blog. Starting in March of this year, I began soliciting volunteers to act as guest hosts, and publish each carnival at their own blogs. I did that for three reasons. First, it makes CarnivAOL a true blog carnival, like the hundreds of others out in the greater blogosphere. Second, it will hopefully result in CarnivAOL being exposed to a wider audience. Third, it took a bit of the workload off me. It's not that big a deal publishing a call for submissions, collecting those submissions for a week, and then publishing them...until you have to do it every single week. Being gainfully employed again has limited my time here in cyberspace, and the roadshow helps in a big way.
So, volunteer, won't you? Send me an email, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know what week you'd like to host this silly little exercise in community building called CarnivAOL.